Friday, May 29, 2009

Since you asked...

Some people (including my very own Veterinarian of the Year father-in-law) have been impressed with the development of our cats. Though I believe the first ingredient in their development is the oodles of love that my husband and I give to them, physical food has played a role as well.

Little August who was bottle fed with goat's milk only likes dry food. And per recommendation of the vet-of-the year always ate Science Diet. I then started messing with his diet and buying the all-natural, no corn-meal, the ancient feline diet, and the little baby developed allergies and had to get allergy shots. We are back to Science Diet and sometimes Wellness. He does not like wet food (actually vomits) and no treats. I wish I ate more like him.

And, he went from looking like this:

to looking like this:

He is now 1 year and 9 months old.

Ollie, whom we got when he was several months old is a gourmand. He eats wet food (only select) morning and night and dry num nums during the day. I get him the low-fat Wellness that he and Augustus both like.

These Kitty Nums can only be purchased from the Paw Boutique in our neighborhood.

Ollie needs a lot of treats and here's an assortment:

He likes fresh salad, and I make that for him all the time. (Armstrong Cat Grass=oats)

And he used to be slightly smaller than shown in this picture:

Yes, you guessed it. Ollie does not skip any meals if at all possible!

He is fast and furious!

And another day I will tell you about their grooming habits, the brushing, washing of their little chins with Neutrogena acne wash, and brushing of their sharp teeth with chicken-flavored toothpaste!

That's a wrap for today.

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Inspiration in my backyard... to speak!

Last night I went to an informal gathering, a talk, at the home of Judges Jim (formerly superior court, now retired) and Dorothy Nelson, still active jurist on the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth District. More honored I cannot be, and so would you if you knew these people who are role models to the community they serve. And I think if all superior court judges resemble only slightly these two in the extent of genuine services offered, then we truly do live in a great country and we can rest that all hell has not come apart.

So I called the boys to a brief pow-wow session. They need to know everything, and of course this they must because I want them to aspire to higher things in life (only fair because I expect the same of moi)

So they both come,

and they sit listening to me telling them about Judge Nelson and the recent ceremony where she was awarded the outstanding jurist of 2009 for the US Court of Appeals, Ninth District.

And this explains this cookie that she gave me (after I oohed and aahed hoping that she would give me one) honoring her services at a luncheon banquet. The boys applauded with great meows that I cannot reproduce for you.

Incidentally, at their home, a most talented local poetess/author (Esther DeTally) spoke of mysticism/becoming your true self/where we are/where we are going/the journey of life, etc., which are ever present thoughts in my head. I stayed until 9:30 after which I thought I better run back and get my doodles off the street. This was a good idea because Ollie was hassling the neighbor's black bunny, Johnny Cash.

Later, he tried to show me how he had practiced meditation, and I think he needs to work at it a bit more. Don't you agree?

PS- Judge Dorothy Nelson was the first female Dean of USC School of Law, introduced the area of 'Mediation' as opposed to 'Litigation', was among those who stood for blacks being admitted to her law class at USC...many stories about her and of course her husband and how they contributed to the betterment of our world (truly inspiring and outstanding especially in view of their genuine humility)

Wishing all inspiration (especially in your own backyard) this Thursday May 28, 2009, the only one of its kind.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Let's meditate...

"Okay, okay, I am meditating", said Ollie.

I said, "Nope! This is not meditating."
You know Ollie bird is a young cat with a limited vocabulary.

"What about now? Am I meditating?"

I said, 'No Ollie, you are not meditating when you are talking so much. Go ask Augustus because he is very good at it.'

"Leave me out of it!" said Augustus, as he tried to hide away.

But later in the day I caught him doing this: "Ommmm!"

And I noticed that Ollie was deep in admiration and trying to focus as well.
Well, more proud and in love I could not be!

'...Bahá'u'lláh says there is a sign in every phenomenon: the sign of the intellect is contemplation and the sign of contemplation is silence, because it is impossible for a man to do two things at one time--he cannot both speak and meditate.

It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.
You cannot apply the name `man' to any being void of this faculty of meditation; without it he would be a mere animal, lower than the beasts. (side note- Augustus and Ollie are exceptions, and this happens!)

Through the faculty of meditation man attains to eternal life; through it he receives the breath of the Holy Spirit (inspiration)--the bestowal of the Spirit is given in reflection and meditation. (side note- this is where inspiration comes from)

The spirit of man is itself informed and strengthened during meditation; through it affairs of which man knew nothing are unfolded before his view. Through it he receives Divine inspiration, through it he receives heavenly food.

Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves.' (Excerpt from Paris Talks)

Personally, I cannot live without silence, meditation, and reflection; and I believe no one can function well without this sort of self-check. However, I do not do it effectively, and this I really like to learn. Do read recent articles on the science of spirituality on NPR that relate to the effects of meditation on health. Fascinating findings even if you do not entirely believe. And for those of us who do, me and my boys, we shall meditate 15 minutes tonight. I will report on how Ollie does with this. Now go meditate or smile!

Bon Mercredi!



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Giorgio and Coni...

Sometimes we all need to smile for no particular reason at all. Please practice smiling now. The cutest little boy in this picture is Angel DiBilio's 4-year old nephew Giorgio, and the giant rabbit is Coni. Angel's lab is two doors down from my office at Caltech where we both work in the Department of Chemistry.

I absolutely love Giorgio and Coni.

I hope you are smiling now.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Looking forward to the weekend?

'We are!', said Augustus and Ollie in unison.

I feel that I had a tough week, not quite sure why, but early this morning, and I mean early early this morning, around 3:45 a.m. when I woke up to the sounds of Augustus and Ollie, I immediately asked myself what day it was because I too was ready for the weekend. Yes, when I open my eyes to cat sounds in the morning I usually search the room because the cats are usually pasted to the screen door, perched on top of a closet, the TV, or some unexpected place, and if I don't respond to their calls quickly, well, whoom comes down Ollie on all fours on my belly.

All of this to tell you that I too look forward to this weekend; so much so that I am forgoing what I had (more like we had) planned to share with you. So the topic of 'solitude' will get postponed perhaps to next week or even later. And why you may ask 'solitude"....because my yoga class yogi sent an email with writings on 'solitude', and this was followed by coincidental reading of an article about 'solitude'. I will stop jibber jabbering (as Mr T would say) about all this now because it is not consistent with 'solitude' but hope to remember to follow up the topic later and soon.

Wishing you all a delightful weekend. Remember it is a long one and a very important one.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Was it a jaguar or a lion?

The news last night reported neighborhood sightings of a jaguar, perhaps a lion. No one really knows. I need to get the boys batman costumes so they can go out inconspicuously!

Well, my head was hurting yesterday from all this thinking...I really don't like philosophizing even though I get sucked into it. If you recall yesterday I was annoyed by "fear", annoying "angst". The Red Cross event said that during 9-11 children were traumatized because the media kept playing the falling building scenes over and over and the kids could not tell that it was the same scene. I think adults are the same even though we can decipher better than young children.

Anyhow, this led me to a mini self-reflection session where I talk to myself in my head.
Ollie, who is trying to show his mental capabilities and knows when I am doing this brought the passage copied below to my attention. He is getting too big for his britches but that's another story for another day...

The Realm of Full Awareness, the Apex of Consciousness (That's where Ollie roams in between naps)
Verily, the wayfarer who journeyeth unto God, unto the Crimson Pillar in the snow-white path, will never reach unto his heavenly goal unless he abandoneth all that men possess: “And if he feareth not God, God will make him to fear all things; whereas all things fear him who feareth God.”

Crazy as it may sound, I thought about this for a second and agreed that this was a pretty useful statement (for me at least); I rather fear displeasing God than fear everything else in the world. My spiritual essence should really focus on the latter, and not the former. True, true...much easier said than done; however, I am so lucky to have ginger cat to remind me. Let me know if you want the ging meow messages to you too. Some days he becomes a guru and struts about as a swami!!!

Tread Fearlessly My Friends but still go and prepare your emergency pack....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Oh No!, said Ollie.

Last night a friend invited me to go to an informative earthquake preparedness session sponsored by the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of Red Cross. Before I start moaning let me say three things.
1. It is great that this organization is trying to prepare the public for what is now for sure an inevitable natural disaster waiting to happen.
2. The Red Cross headquarters off of Orange Grove Blvd and Madeline is a stunning building in a beautiful residential neighborhood. They offer architectural tours, I believe on the second Thursday of each month, and this I will attend.
3. The people working there were also super!

Okay, now the moaning, and I will keep it short because I can easily depress myself! Aargh! Is there anyway to prepare for a disaster that is of such a scale that there is no way out of it? Ladies and gents, the short answer is NO. This experience will either make you god-fearing or the opposite. This is Katrina, many times worse but without the water. And if it happens during the Santa Ana season, even better then. We were told that we could expect civility for about two weeks, people helping each other, etc. After that we should prepare to protect ourselves from terrorism and violence. One useful thing to know was this, and I am serious: do enough preventative prep so that you don't get injured. Do the math, 10 million people in the LA basin and x number of hospitals.

Let's face it, we all know that we can handle a local earthquake such as the Northridge one; however, sth x10 or x20 or x50. It will not be pretty. And as different scenarios raced through my head I started thinking about dying my hair again!!!

Let's think good thoughts now. Furry cats, little purrs and their pink noses. I am now also going to confess that I love cat noses. So here are a few cat noses for you too:

But my favorites are:

I will follow up with a quote tomorrow. Isn't this what I always try to do?

Bon Mercredi a tous!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It all seemed normal at first...

However, I sensed that something was up with Ollie!

Maybe not, he was only quenching his thirst...

Didn't think much when I saw him pow-wowing with Augustus...

Didn't pay much attention when I saw him flipping through my reading materials

Yesterday when I left for work he had grabbed some reading and was on the bed!

Then this:

Finally he came out with it. He wanted me to share a selection with you, something about the realm of full awareness (that's where he roams), something related to the Sioux tale he shared earlier that had to do with creating your own reality...

"...Concerning this realm, there is many a tradition and many a verse, of broad or special relevancy, but two of these will suffice to serve as a light for men of mind and heart.
The first is His statement: "O My Servant! Obey Me and I shall make thee like unto Myself. I say 'Be' and it is, and thou shalt say 'Be,' and it shall be."
And the second: "O Son of Adam! Seek fellowship with none until thou hast found Me, and whenever thou shalt long for Me, thou shalt find Me close to thee."...

This is way too profound and you may want to read the whole passage here. I think he is trying to say that once mindful of our spiritual essence, we will have powers that allow us to define our own realities.

I think I am going to freak out if he continues with this, one moment he is biting my arm and the next he is telling me tales!!! I don't know where these boys find these writings and furthermore, how do they understand them....

Augustus who was a silent observer then came to me with a request. He wants a meditation cushion like this:

The Scottish fold posing in this ad for meditation cushions is Basil Farrow who used to live with Mia Farrow. Augustus mentioned that this cushion could be purchased from the Monastery Store right here.

I think I need to get all of this out of my head. Do let me know if your cats are up to the same!



Monday, May 18, 2009

The Abode of Bliss...

This title has nothing to do with today's blog, it just sounds delightful. If you like to know it is the title of a chapter from the book Tulipomania by Mike Dash.

The pictures are from this past weekend. Early morning Augustus comes and gets me to go out with him. We head down the street to the unkept house (which has become more groomed probably because the neighbors complained). The bald grass has become feeding ground for a group of very pretty mourning doves. These guys are really interesting. They become statuesque when the cats are around. Instead of flying away they just freeze. As you can see Augustus is doing the crouching tiger move as he crawls towards them. I am only letting him crouch in the middle of the street because I am standing there otherwise he has no business crouching in the middle of a street.

He approaches the doves. Fascinating! Not a sound!

Meanwhile a goofy squirrel down the street is watching and trying to alert the doves. Yeah right, as if they understand his language!

Augustus is motionless, and now the birds are moving about; they cannot tell that he is watching them!

I notice a lady walker coming down the sidewalk; she sees me standing taking pictures, and oblivious of everything with the exception of her i-pod, she passes by! Whoosh, there go the doves! How coarse are human movements in comparison to cat movements!

Augustus looks at me and gives a little meow. I said, don't worry babe, we'll find more another day.

You said, where was Ollie during all of this? No one knows.

Later in the morning I am having coffee and toast on the patio and my little fellow keeps me company. He sits on the wall and reflects on all that happened. Once in a while I am treated to a little meow or little gurggly sound that he makes. Just can't get enough of looking at him...his dreamy looks, his peacefulness.

I wish you all an abode of bliss free from whooshing lady walkers...ha ha!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Missed my chance to fame...

It appears that I (or we) missed our chance to fame. See for yourself this film promo

I have to make sure Ollie and Augustus don't see this. We are practically doing this every morning! I just needed a crew to film us while training. Oh well, c'est la vie!

Happy Friday everyone! I am sending you a lucky lady bug.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

This is how cats sit in class...

Actually, this is not how they sit in class. We usually form a triangle and bounce ideas back and forth. Today was different though! At first, it was hard to discuss anything when they had their back to me until I realized that this was another way for cats to sit in class, that's because they can turn their heads around very well.

Anyhow, we discussed this, and here's a short passage to reflect upon.

"It is not an easy task to present to minds obsessed with the conception of this world and its affairs as complete in itself rather than as an ante room to a larger, freer life, a scene in which the dominant note was Eternity;..."

I spend a lot of time trying not to obsess and to detach and I don't think it works for me that well. Ollie asked me to obsess with him, and Augustus went 'Grrr'. So it goes!

My human brain needs to study now...

Love to you all...
A bientot,